CAIRO – A new housing estate for Australia Muslims has been announced in Melbourne, the project seen as a chance to escape rising anti-Muslim sentiments in the community.
“This particular venture is an indication there’s a feeling out there that there’s perhaps less acceptance of Muslims,” Australian Federation of Islamic Councils treasurer Keysar Trad told Nine’s A Current Affair, Daily Mail reported on Tuesday, May 24.
Trad added that Muslims may want to live in the estate to be free of discrimination and misunderstanding.
“A project of this nature will allow people to be able to develop a local place of worship or a local school without too many objections from neighbors. They won’t be getting in anybody’s way, it’s something within their local community.
“We’ve always encouraged our community to live among mainstream society and to build friendships and promote understanding and awareness.”
The new project, Iqra Village, is deemed Australia’s first Muslim housing estate.
The residential project at Melton South in Melbourne’s west, will be divided into 75 lots and marketed towards South Asian migrants.
Though the new housing estate in suburban Melbourne targets Muslim families, it is not a Muslim-only estate.
A spokesperson for Melton City Council said permits had been issued for medium density housing.
“There was no reference in the planning applications that the development was a faith-based community development,” the council said in a statement.
“Subdivision works have been completed but at this stage only two dwellings have been constructed.
“Melton City Council continues to build an inclusive community that embraces and values cultural diversity.”
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
Islam is the country’s second largest religion after Christianity.